Now that the Election Tempest is Over, It’s Time to Heal Our Spirits

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The 2018 election season was eventually brought to an endmost last Friday when Zimbabwe’s constitutional court unanimously upheld President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s narrow victory in last month’s historic election after the opposition alleged vote-rigging, saying they had not produced sufficient and credible evidence.

In a concession gesture, the opposition leader Pastor Advocate Nelson Chamisa on the 28th of August tweeted from his official account, proposing that for the country to move forward there is a need for truth, open dialogue, healing, good governance and respect for citizens’ rights.

He posted; “Nation building & modernizing Zimbabwe ..to move forward zim needs truth, dialogue, healing, peace & citizens’ consensus based on good governance & human rights. To end all disputes, we need a package of legal & political reforms to transform the way the state & elections are run.”

 

In the same vein, Emmerson Mnangagwa who took his oath as the nation’s president in front of a stadium crowd last Sunday, August 26, worded to “protect and promote the rights of Zimbabweans”.

2018 hotly contested yet harmonised elections were conducted in a peaceful environment. But, that peace was soon swamped by a gloomy shadow when the army deployed to deal with opposition parties protests of the election outcome on the 1st of August launched robust operations on unarmed civilians, firing live rounds. The death toll from that street clashes reportedly rose to six and injured fourteen people.

An overall unfortunate and deplorable political affair, the general election race, just like the preceding ones, drew some of the evilest of Zimbabwean society. A time of madness politically, the run exposed the hate, sexism and intolerance that prevails despite the country’s advances.

It pitted religious groups against one another, caused significant stress in many civilians, and it also gave many of us little to have faith in.

Some even had actual nightmares over the course of the election.

Words were said to each other, which were not so nice. Things were done, some of which were ill-intentioned.

As one acclaimed scribbler Joyce Carol Oates noted in The Accursed, “… while madness in individuals is relatively rare, it is virtually a prerequisite for a certain sort of political leader.”

Now, that this unholy political tempest has finally perched, only God knows where, the task of healing is more critical than ever.

Notable churches around the land are hosting prayer vigils as a way of bringing people together across the political split. Vigils, masses and frank conversations will probably continue in the months and years to come. But first, a transition to healing and reconciliation can start with each person individually.

How do we then embark on spiritual recovery as a church now that the election season is over?

Make amends with loved ones.

According to American psychologist John M. Grohol, healing after an acrimonious election season must begin at home.

“Now is the time to apologize for such remarks and acknowledge that some elections can be more acrimonious and frustrating than others. But it is no excuse not to treat others with the same respect we all want and deserve,” Grohol wrote on PsychCentral.

Donate/help/support seriously disturbed families

Many religious and spiritual traditions have practices of charitable giving and reaching out to those in need. The groups our favourite politicians disparaged will probably continue to be victimised or haunted by those bleak experiences long after this election ― and these are some ways you can help.

Get to know your neighbours.

We live in an increasingly pluralistic society where the chance of knowing or encountering people from very different backgrounds is high. That is if we undertake to reach out. It’s all too easy to stay in our personal bubbles and either love or judge others from afar. But the Christian teaching to “love your neighbour as yourself” takes some actual effort ― and it’s crucial now after an election that pitted Christians/Zimbabweans against one another.

Practice forgiveness.

“We should be willing to forgive our former opponents,” wrote theologian Robert Franklin on Religion News Service. “Authentic faith also reminds us of the importance of humility and not assuming that one party or one tradition possesses all truth.”

Remember that we’re just one small part of a vast universe.

The issues we face are immense, but in some ways, they’re also microscopic. For the scientifically minded, remember that Earth and all normal, observable matter make up less than five percent of the universe. For many of us with deeply held religious convictions, we have a God watching over us. In this case, there’s a bigger picture to keep in mind — and it’s up to us to make our little patch of the universe a better place.

Some parts of the article were written by Antonia Blumberg


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ImChris Charamba

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller at Enthuse Afrika. Balances literary writing with pop culture experience. Captivates raw, authentic sights, moments, feelings and conversations. Follow me on Twitter @ImChrisCharamba

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